NFL considering a playoff bubble


by - Staff Writer -
The bubble has helped the NBA, NHL, and MLS (Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports)
The bubble has helped the NBA, NHL, and MLS (Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports)

We have already seen both the NBA and NHL adopt a postseason bubble for this year's playoffs, and so far, they are having fantastic success keeping positive tests out of the bubble. MLS also had a bubble for their play in tournament, and apart from two teams, positive tests were extremely low.

Given the success these leagues have had and seeing what has gone on in baseball with no restrictive bubble, the MLB has now begun discussions of their own about the possibility of a playoff bubble. Could the NFL be next? With the regular season set to start in three weeks, the NFL is planning on having the season go on as planned just without fans. What happens after the regular season is the next question, and something the NFL is starting to look in to.

Seeing how well the postseason bubble has been working, it shouldn't come as a surprise that MLB is starting to kick the tires on that idea. The NFL may not be far behind themselves as they, too, are looking into the possibility of some postseason bubble. This idea was brought to the table by Saints head Coach Sean Payton, and Troy Vincent, Executive Vice President of Football Operations who isn't ruling out that possibility.

This idea is not out of the question from the NFL, but all options should be on the table at this point. Given that this recommendation came from Payton, who himself is on the competition committee and you can see why it has some merit behind it. While a postseason bubble would need NFLPA approval before getting passed, the players union has already considered the idea, so there appears to be some forward-thinking already on this topic.

A bubble concept for the regular season was talked about often but didn't appear to get much steam as not many of the 32 teams liked the idea. However, I think it would be easier to pitch that idea to the 14 playoff teams than the entire league. We have already seen teams like Seattle and Dallas take it upon themselves to institute their type of bubble where disciplinary actions take place if you don't follow protocol. You would have to think similar measures would be put in place by the NFL to make something like this work.

Even though we can almost guarantee that we will have no fans this season, or at the very worst limited capacity, instituting a postseason bubble won't be easy. For starters, teams like the No. 1 seed may want that bubble to be at their stadium given they earned home field for the season. Then you have the other teams who received at least one home playoff game in which they may not want to give that up for a bubble type setting. They may not have a choice in the end, but it is certainly worth looking at as a possible hurdle.

Trying to figure out where the NFL and sports world will be in January is certainly exhausting, but imagine what the country feels like when they need to figure it out. Knowing how far away that is, I don't think anyone wants to look thoroughly into a playoff bubble quite yet or what the initial plans would be as to where it would take place.

The encouraging thing to take away from all this would be that a bubble is being talked about. That shows that they are willing to protect the players as much as possible should it come down. While discussions have started and probably will continue for quite a while, I wouldn't expect a decision made any time soon.

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